Thursday, March 13, 2008

Pod Crazy

I finally got my own iPod. It is so exhilarating to get a new gadget. Aside from the clean and neat packaging, the product itself always looks so shiny, crisp and full of promises of all the wonderful things it can do. And the smell, I just love the smell of new thingamajigs.

I have always been a big music fan. I listen to all, I mean all kinds of music. Possibly the result of being a shy and impressionable person. Whenever I meet new people with new music tastes, I will develop a liking to their music.

I adore everything, from musicals like Les Miserables to Bollywood soundtracks. From Earl Klugh to Daft Punk. From Bjork to U2. My current favourite artist is Josh Groban. Saying "favourite" will be an understatement. I am crazy about him. His voice just takes me to heaven where everything is so romantically wonderful. My husband took me to his concert at Sydney Opera House last year and it was one of the happiest days of my life. But my iPod is not only a Josh Groban discography.

My husband was a bit puzzled as to why I would want an iPod because I do not have a lot of time to kill to and from work. I think I have become a hype victim. But for now I am enjoying whatever opportunity I can to use my new iPod.

As I was walking home with plugged ears for the first time, I realised there was so much noise around I took for granted. I could not hear the leaves rustling in the wind, the birds fluttering by and footsteps of people trying to overtake me from behind. It is a shame, really, how more people now just plug their ears and let the world go by unnoticed. Temporarily, I am one of them. Ignoring the sound of nature and choosing instead to hear Brian McKnight serenading to me that I am his everything. :)

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Lost in Paradise

That is me, pictured with thongs that do not match. They fit perfectly though. And there is a story behind them.

When we went back to Indonesia last year, my husband decided that we should travel to two of Lombok's tiny islands: Gili Meno and Gili Trawangan. He went there years ago and he loved them. He was right. The view is breathtaking, both above and under the sea. The people are extremely friendly, always smiling and ready for a chat even when they are extremely busy. Best of all, at that time of year, there were not too many tourists, which mostly are foreigners, so we could almost have the island all to ourselves.

Unfortunately, at that time of year, it was also very wet.

On our first morning on Gili Meno, we planned to circle the island, which would take us less than half an hour. We did not bring any thongs because we thought we would be barefooted on soft white sand. The soft white sand turned out to be broken coral reefs and junk swept by the sea from the big islands. There we were, trying to maneuver our way through the debris. My feet were starting to hurt when this green thong appeared. It must be heaven sent because it saved my right foot. That was when I declared we should try to find thongs to wear.

We became two lone figures scouring the beach for lost thongs. We found two complete pairs by the time it started to rain. To save ourselves from the rain and wind, we stopped by an empty hut that seemed steady enough for shelter. The wind was so strong we could not stand still.

Being on a small island with no one in sight, the rain pouring hard and the wind blowing so strong, anyone can feel isolated. No sun, no sky and no sand. It really was as though we were stranded on a deserted island.

But we were not lost, because we could see the main island clearly. And the island was not deserted, there were local people in the middle of the island and at least there was one Chilean couple still swimming near the hotel this morning. But if we were swept away on a faraway island, I could not think of any other person I would rather be with than my thong-scavenging buddy of a husband. :)

Religions and Spirituality

I believe in kindness. A simple smile and a loving gesture can create miracles.

I believe in being humble. In a world where being the best is everything, humanity can only survive if we want to admit we are only human and stop judging other people.

I believe there are as many religions/beliefs as there are people in the world. Any discussion without an open mind will only result in hatred and anger.

I believe that if in every breath we take we remember one day we are going to die, this world will be a peaceful one.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Semi-annual Bath

My dog, Sonny, is virtually clean and odorless whole year round. All dirt will dry and fall off his coat. We were advised that Japanese Spitz only needs to be bathed twice a year. Last January we chose a very hot and sunny day for Sonny's 2008 first semi-annual bath.

Sonny does not like baths very much, as can be expected from an animal who only meets the bucket full of water twice a year. To do this task properly, my husband has to hold him down. Otherwise, he will wriggle himself free and try to jump out of the bath tub. He never escaped but the process would make the whole bathroom wet.

This is his picture during the bath. Not a very happy puppy. You can see his real head is very very small. It's all fur!!

Once we dry him with a towel, he has to stand in the sun for a few minutes. Natural hair drier, I suppose. I give him ice cubes and let him in a few minutes in between. We need the sun because his coat is dense. Using a human hair drier will only dry his outer coarser coat. The softer inner coat will need more work. Besides, I do not like the idea of shooting hot air on him for almost one hour.

When he is half dry, we let him inside the house. He always goes berserk at this stage, running around the house like a mad dog. Probably the dampness of his coat makes him pretty grumpy. You would be grumpy too if your whole body is wet, sticky and smelling of something strange.

Only after he is completely dry is he content and happy.

This is his picture afterwards, keen to be rewarded for his very good behaviour.

Puppy Love

This is my Japanese Spitz, Sonny, pictured here at nine months old. He is almost two years old now but he still looks the same. I love this pose because I cannot stop laughing when I see a cat or a dog with its tongue still sticking out. It is just so cute that they sort of forgot.

One of the joys of having a Japanese Spitz is that they clean and groom themselves regularly. Sonny stays white and clean all the time that we get comments when we walk him every day. People admire how much work we must put into keeping his coat as beautiful as it is. We got tired of explaining that it was all him so we just bask in the glory of being a good owner and say thank you.

Since I had Sonny, I have been doing more exercise, spending more time outdoors with him and generally just being content because I can love a cute and wonderful dog and he loves me back.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Hobbies and Obsessions

I have always been grateful that all my life I am allowed to have hobbies. A lot of people have to make do with what they can afford; some spend almost all waking hours working and worrying or they just do not have the chance to enjoy a simple pastime. I hope I will always be able to stop and be thankful.

One of my hobbies is writing. Nothing fancy or creative. I just like the way the pen moves and how I can change my writing to different styles. At work, when most people document almost everything in Microsoft Word document, jot down calendar entries in Blackberries and put reminders in their Lotus Notes, I would still use the faithful pen and paper for everything.

When I was younger I used to write short stories but that did not last long. I still have the imagination but not the skill. Now I only write my thoughts and daily journal entries. I have been writing journal entries for 19 years. I try to write every day but most often than not I fail, either because of laziness or due to a terrible incident. I usually stopped writing when I lost a loved one. Writing about them would send me back to the terrible hole and the pain would be unbearable.

This hobby leads to an obsession with stationery. I used to think (and my husband still thinks) that this obsession is close to madness. That was before the Internet introduced me to a lot of people around the world who are even more stationery-crazy than I am.

The picture above shows my first moleskine and dearest Charmy Kitty Hi-Tec-C pen. I first discovered moleskine in a Kinokuniya bookstore. After this first purchase, I was a convert. I now write my journal entries in a big moleskine diary and I bring the pocket size one in my handbag all the time. Not mentioning all other moleskine purchases but this first one is special. I did not want to bring a big moleskine diary to my recent travel to Indonesia so I brought this smaller one instead. It now contains precious memories about my beloved country and family.

The pen is a popular Japanese pen called Hi-Tec-C. I love the colours. The complete collection has 36 colours, I think, from your regular black and blue, to strawberry, olive and different shades of blue. They also write beautifully. I found this one and bought it just because the cap has Charmy Kitty. I also collect Sanrio stationery, by the way.

I know I will never use up all the pens, paper, notebooks and other stationery I have in my lifetime. But at least I have the peace of mind that should tomorrow suddenly all the stationers went bust, I will have ample supply to last a few generations. : )

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Summer Rain

It has been raining almost every day in Sydney. Today did not feel like summer at all. Cool breeze swept inside the house from under the doors, drizzles came and went and the sun was hiding all day.

The dog in the picture is Sonny, my almost-two-year-old Japanese Spitz puppy. He was looking wistfully at the outside world, waiting for the rain to stop so he could go for his walkies. If it was not raining, he would be standing at the gate, sticking his head out and barking at anything that moved.

I just started this blog today, just for fun. I hope people will read and understand what I write. My plan was to write about anything, but always in a positive way. I am such a pessimistic, cynical and negative person that this might just be a bit of a challenge. So here goes nothing. I will try to put any positive thoughts down triggered by a picture. Like that first picture above.

I like wet weather because it reminds me of home. Home is where I came from: Jakarta, Indonesia. I have always pondered where my home is. Most of the time I think of Jakarta as home cause most of my family are there.

Years ago I was sent to work out of town for a few months. There was one night when the thunder was so loud and the rain was pouring hard. My room-mate was staring at the window with a smile on her face. I shared the sentiment.

She said she liked thunderstorms because it reminded her of her mother. Every time there was a thunderstorm, she would be safely at home, spending time with her mother. I think I like rains and thunderstorms because of that too. It hardly ever rains in Sydney, so when it does, I feel happy. The air smells familiar with all its stickiness, us running frantically to get home, listening to thunder rolls from under the blanket, watching TV together with rain humming in the background.

When it stops, I will be happy still. Cause then we can take Sonny out for his run and I can do the laundry. : )